FEBRUARY - MAY 2018
M+B Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
M+B is pleased to announce AgX.Hb, Matthew Brandt's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. The show will present new works from the artist’s recent Silver series, in addition to the debut of the Heidelberg Blankets. The exhibition runs from February 24 to March 31, 2018, with an opening reception on Saturday, February 24 from 6 to 8 pm.
Process is a driving force in how Matthew Brandt makes his pictures. A common thread in his work has been collaborating with his subjects and allowing their materials to help dictate their own image outcome. In his Silver series, Brandt extends the limits of black and white photography (in its near obsolescence in the digital age) by utilizing the materials that are inherent to that process and experimenting with the elements’ shape shifting nature.
Silver has become synonymous with black and white photographic printing—it is the precious metal that harnessed our vision and allowed us to see ourselves. For this series, Brandt photographed the forest landscape, focusing on the vertical stagger of giant trees for his large format traditional silver gelatin prints. Mounted onto aluminum, the works are applied with a layer of silver solution, obscuring the images in places and creating an all-over mirrored effect. Upon this reflective surface, the viewer sees both themself and the photographed image, and a shift in the photographic subject occurs. Viewer and photograph coexist within the frame, and through the nature of depth perception, the focus oscillates between photograph and reflection, background and foreground. The imaginary space of the photographed moment is interchanged with the real and the present.
The exhibition also marks the debut of Matthew Brandt’s Heidelberg Blankets. These vibrantly hued textiles contain images of working hands and various studio objects, all intricately embroidered onto the fabric.
Brandt found the base fabric material for this series at the Damiani printing plant in Bologna, Italy in 2014. There for the printing of his Lakes and Reservoirs book, Brandt also had the opportunity to learn about the publisher’s exceptionally large Heidelberg offset lithographic printer. So large and complex that it fills an entire warehouse, the printer has the sole job of neatly applying ink to paper. A major part of this task is devoted to cleaning the multitude of rollers with a specially engineered blanket material that runs through the machine. The rollers leave linear impressions on the baby blue blankets, one color at a time, cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
Brandt collected the blankets that cleaned the excess ink from his book. Embroidered onto these blankets are snapshots from the studio—his hands, his father’s screwdriver, a crowbar that he was robbed with, a friend’s iPhone and a crumpled love letter. Such a slowed down image-making process, with each thread mark considered and meticulously made, contrasts with the repeated striations that the printer so rapidly reproduced. These pictures are documents of their own making, and oscillate between the slow and fast, handmade and mechanical.